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Thread: Micro Engineering Flax Track

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    Default Micro Engineering Flax Track

    I'm still not completely decided on what track to use on my new layout but I think I've ruled out Kato and have narrowed it down to Peco code 55 and ME code 55. I don't have access to ME locally and it's rather expensive to have one piece shipped in to test it out. The main issue people seem to complain about is the stiffness and all the micro bends that show up when curving the track. I have some Peco track which is also stiff but I have no issues bending nice curves on it. My question would be is ME about the same as Peco to shape or much more difficult? I was pretty much sold on Peco for it's availability, turnout selection and being a little cheaper to get but I'm not sure if the tie spacing will bug me in the long run.

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    I have used both Peco and ME code 55, and while the Peco is stiff, the ME is much more stiff. The Peco still has some springiness to it, meaning that if you have a joint on a curve it will want to bend outward. The ME on the other hand is sufficiently rigid that this is not much of a concern. Laying the ME track is kind of like making your own custom long segments of sectional track, taking the time to bend it to the route you need. For curves, this can mean a lot of eyeballing and correcting minor imperfections in the curve, as well as getting ties to spread themselves out equally. The Peco will bend more naturally, but it won't really hold its shape (it will relax slightly if you just put it down without nailing or gluing it).

    I mostly use Micro Engineering (I used the Peco for a hidden helix) and for curves I made myself some curve templates at a variety of radii, cutting them out of card stock, so that I can hold these edges up to the rails and detect any minor deviations that still need to be adjusted. But just getting my eyeballs down low and sighting along the curve is usually good enough to spot such conditions.

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    Thank-you! This answers my question perfectly!

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    I use the ME code 55 as well. I used the Ribbon Rails radius tools for my curves. I like the stiffness because it stays put and connects in curves.
    I have used the PECO flex on past layouts and it works good also.
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    I prefer ME code 55 flex as well and have used it exclusively since 1996. The tie size and spacing, as well as the subtle irregularities, look correct to my eye based on what I often see (and frequently walk around on). I find I can obtain smooth, consistent curves and spiral-like easements with little difficulty.

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    Also like ME flex for a number of reasons. One thing people have issues with, and it happened to me, is once you bend track (or it gets sent with a bend) and you need a straight, it takes a special technique to get it perfectly straight again. You can get the big bends out (or put bends in) by starting at the ends and working toward the center of the flex. For that last bit of kink, hold your steel ruler's straight edge tight against a rail on the concave side of the bend and push the rail's bulge point against the straight edge. Worked every time for me.

    I did have problems soldering the pre-weathered track, prefer the shiny version.

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    I've also been using ME flex for a long time. Yes, it is stiff, but once you get it curved the way you want, it stays there. To curve it, I have an old "track gauge" which is a hard rubbery block with two slots on each side. One side is for HO scale, the other for N scale. The slots are too loose to actually use as a gauge, but if you push it along the track while giving it a little twist, it will curve the ME track very nicely. These aren't available any more, but you may be able to find one at a train show or on line.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NtheBasement View Post
    I did have problems soldering the pre-weathered track, prefer the shiny version.
    I wasn't going to get the pre-weathered flex for this reason as well. I also airbrush my track and rails after they are installed anyway so may as well save a couple of bucks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim R View Post
    I've also been using ME flex for a long time. Yes, it is stiff, but once you get it curved the way you want, it stays there. To curve it, I have an old "track gauge" which is a hard rubbery block with two slots on each side. One side is for HO scale, the other for N scale. The slots are too loose to actually use as a gauge, but if you push it along the track while giving it a little twist, it will curve the ME track very nicely. These aren't available any more, but you may be able to find one at a train show or on line.
    I was thinking of getting the Peco Tracksetta radius templates to use for most of my curves. I would assume they would fit inside the rails of any N scale track?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Intarsiabox View Post
    I was thinking of getting the Peco Tracksetta radius templates to use for most of my curves. I would assume they would fit inside the rails of any N scale track?
    It should. Or try FastTracks' sweeps as an alternative.

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    There is also a product called Ribbon Rail, which essentially does the same thing as the Tracksetta, but they are a bit less expensive. Both that or the Tracksetta come in a variety of radii. I used the Ribbon Rail ones mainly because I could not find the Tracksettas as easily when I needed them.

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    For shaping my ME flextrack to an 18" radius curve (my minimum on my mainlines), I use some leftover Atlas HO scale Code 100 18" radius sectional track and fit the ME flextrack in between the HO scale rails. The ends of the ties fit perfectly between the HO track's rails and I have an 18" radius curve!

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    The real question is what sort of turnouts are you planning on using? If you're using atlas I'd go ME, if you're using peco, you'll need to fuss with transition joiners between everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baronjutter View Post
    The real question is what sort of turnouts are you planning on using? If you're using atlas I'd go ME, if you're using peco, you'll need to fuss with transition joiners between everything.
    If I went with ME track I would probably try to use as many of their brand of No.6 turnouts as I could. I'm not too interested in using the Atlas turnouts, I've got a bunch of their no.5 turnouts from when they first came out and have had issues with the cast frogs. Besides that I don't like the look of caboose ground throws or having to pay for switch machines for every turnout. If I go with Peco then I will of course use their turnouts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mingles View Post
    There is also a product called Ribbon Rail, which essentially does the same thing as the Tracksetta, but they are a bit less expensive. Both that or the Tracksetta come in a variety of radii. I used the Ribbon Rail ones mainly because I could not find the Tracksettas as easily when I needed them.
    Ribbon Rail has more variety and is cheaper but I can't find any of the N scale ones in Canada. If I place an order with MTS for ME track and turnouts I'll add some of them onto my order.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MetroRedLn View Post
    For shaping my ME flextrack to an 18" radius curve (my minimum on my mainlines), I use some leftover Atlas HO scale Code 100 18" radius sectional track and fit the ME flextrack in between the HO scale rails. The ends of the ties fit perfectly between the HO track's rails and I have an 18" radius curve!
    Thanks for this! I added this into my train journal. I don't have a new house yet so no real track plan but I would also like to keep 18" as a mainline minimum as I have a bunch of passenger cars I would like to run

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